Results tagged ‘ Twitter ’

A New First-Round Draft Pick

twitbird.pngI was on Twitter yesterday, minding my own business, when I came across the following 140-character missive from Iowa Cubs’ director of logistics Scott Sailor:

Coming to Principal Park: Bottoms Up Beer Dispensers. Fills #beer from the bottom of the cup — in one second!

The tweet contained a link to the home page of GrinOn Industries, makers of the “Bottoms Up” beer dispenser. Said page contains a video of one man filling up 44 pints over the course of a minute. Meanwhile, on YouTube, this video of “Bottoms Up” in action has garnered over three million views:

My interest piqued, I re-tweeted Sailor’s tweet and that in turn was picked up by CNBC sports business (and Twitter) guru Darren Rovell. As a result, I gained quite a few new followers as well as the knowledge that people are very interested in bottom-filling beer cups.

But the I-Cubs are the first Minor League team I’ve come across who will utilize this amazing technology (which, for the record, is heavily dependent on magnets). Are there any others out there? I’d like to hear some bottom-filling beer cup anecdotes.

It’s a non-sequitur kind of day, so I’m going to transition without comment to the funniest Minor League video I’ve seen in at least 22 hours. If you’ve ever wanted to know what a baseball zamboni is, or even if you haven’t, the Gwinnett Braves are here to fill you in.

I really am a fan of the above video, as it so ably utilizes the classic “set-up/punchline” format. That’s all that’s ever needed.

Seeking to zig where others zag, I’ll close today’s post with information about a toothbrush bobblehead. Bet you didn’t see this one coming:

bristles.jpg 

The individual seen above is “Bristles”, an up-and-comer within the Lowell Spinners’ ever-expanding pantheon of ballpark characters. The team is distributing just 200 Bristles bobbleheads, available only to “Grand Slam” members of the “Thread Sox Nation” fan club.

Talk about a brush with greatness!

Bottoms-up beer dispensing? Check. Zamboni-themed team produced video? Check. Oral hygiene giveaway item? Check. Puns that inspire anger in the reader and self-loathing in the writer? Check. 

Okay, my work here is done.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

A Leader Among Followers

telegram.JPGAt this juncture in the space-time continuum, nearly everyone agrees that proactive social media engagement is crucial to a team’s operation.

But how, exactly, to engage?

One Minor League team that has been leading the virtual charge is the Fresno Grizzlies. The team has held innovative “Tweet-Up” promotions in each of the last two seasons (which were summarily copied by parent club the San Francisco Giants), and this past week they enticed fans to join them on Twitter by staging a drawing for Hot Stove Dinner tickets that was only open to new followers.

This most recent effort made the Grizzlies the first team in the Pacific Coast League to eclipse the 5000 followers milestone, and to celebrate they’re offering an exclusive ticket deal. Sez the team:

The package includes a Field Box seat for all four games of opening weekend…as well as aThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for fresno g.jpg number of special perks.
In addition to the tickets, fans will also get a pregame, behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark on Friday, a pregame catch on the field on Saturday, and a post-game photo in the dugout on Sunday all for just $40. The tickets alone are a $64 value, and the special ballpark experiences are available only through this ticket package.

I spoke with Grizzlies media relations director Noah Frank, who remarked that “We’re always looking for new ways to keep people tuned in, and this is a great way to get info to our fans.”

pcl.jpgIt’s also a great way to maintain a rivalry, as the Grizzlies recent Twitter surge gave them more followers than previous PCL leader the Reno Aces.

“With a new ballpark and a new team, [the Aces] started with a lot of momentum. But we pride ourselves at being at the forefront and we’re coming on strong,” said Frank.

While that’s exceedingly mild as trash talk goes, it’s good enough for me. Your move, Reno!

Another excellent social media initiative, and one that I’ve written about before, was the Durham Bulls’ fundraising drive on behalf of the Durham Literacy Center. The team, which donated $1 to the center for every new fan they acquired on Facebook, announced today that $2000 was raised.

This idea is simple and easily adaptable, and I will be a crestfallen blogger if no other teams follow suit. Get to copying!

And, of course, let me know what YOU have been up to when it comes to social media initiatives. In the meantime, I’ll be stressing over the fact that this post didn’t have any good jokes (me to jokes: “I can’t live, if living is without you.”)

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

I'm Right Here Waiting For You

tulsa_drillers.pngI am writing this on Friday evening, well aware that most of you won’t be reading it until Monday morning.

So, how was your weekend? Those football games were awesome, weren’t they? A Saints-Jets Colts Super Bowl is really something to look forward to! And how about Conan’s last show? I thought the funniest best part was when Neil Young did a song parody called “The Network and the Damage Done” his farewell speech.

And speaking of Conan, in yesterday’s (I mean, Thursday’s) post I gave credit to the Round Rock Express for being the first Minor League team to offer Conan a job. Well, the Tulsa Drillers made an offer of their own:

“[The Drillers] will make Conan O’Brien our official MC for every
Drillers game for as long as
labamba.jpg he and you all live. The Tonight Show
Band? They can play every game — even LaBamba. Andy Richter, Pierre
Bernard, Preparation H Raymond, The [self-pleasuring] Bear, and PimpBot 5000
can all join our full-time staff. Bring them all.

We are fully prepared to offer you all your very own suite at ONEOK
Field to enjoy each Drillers game. Come on, guys, “The CoCo Cabana”.
Seriously. we can make it happen.”

The full letter can be read HERE, in all its resplendent red-haired glory.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for profriverdogs.jpgSpeaking of resplendent glory, the city of Charleston, SC is positively aglow with the news that a male Statue of Liberty may be erected in the city. Of course, the RiverDogs can not let news of such magnitude go by unnoticed. Behold, the “Be Your Own Statue” contest:

As part of their new Be Your Own Fan
marketing initiative, the RiverDogs are asking all fans to help determine the
face, shape and size of the new statue. The Be Your Own Statue promotion
invites fans to submit a drawing, photograph or video letting the club know who
should be the face of this new national monument.

The winner will be revealed as part of the All
Things Male promotional night, set for Saturday, July 17, when
Charleston hosts the Augusta GreenJackets for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

“All Things Male” promotional night? I hope that’s better than last year’s “All Things Mail” Night, which didn’t deliver despite my stamp of approval.

And speaking of approval, the Trenton Thunder get mine for a new Twitter contest (ortwitter2010.jpg “Twitest”) announced today: Project 2010 in 2010. Here’s the scoop:

The Thunder’s goal is to have 2,010
Twitter followers by Opening Night (April 8, 2010). When we reach that
number, the Thunder will conduct a random drawing among their Twitter
followers, and give away a Grand Prize to one lucky fan. All of our
followers will also be winners because we’ll release an exclusive
ticket special just for them.

Grand prize is a jersey signed by
the 2010 team.

And speaking of 2010, that’s what year it is. But right now it’s winter, and therefore cold, and therefore our nation’s baseball stadiums are not exactly in optimal condition. Check out these pictures of Principal Park I received today from the Iowa Cubs, who stole the joke I would inevitably have made by writing “Ice Cubs” in the subject line:

ice cubs.jpg 

 
icecubs2.jpg

icecubs3.jpg

icecubs5.jpg
icecubs6.jpg

But if thoughts of Spring are more your thing, then take solace in this: The Reading Phillies announced today that their first “Gluttony Night” of the season will be held on April 9. They also announced that the evening will double as “Crazy About Reading Night” and I was like “Duh guys, every team is crazy about themselves.”

Finally, MiLB.com has a brand-new message board feature. If someone could take it upon his or herself to start a thread on how Benjamin Hill is the greatest and most overlooked writer in the entire world I’d really appreciate it. I’m too modest to do it myself, you see.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Improving My Game

paperclip.jpegAfter talking the talk, I realized I must walk the walk.

The talk that I’ve been talking is that social networking is an effective and low-cost way for teams to stay in touch with their fan bases year-round (I even wrote an article based on this premise, which can be found HERE).

And the walk that I’m now walking is this:

Official Ben’s Biz Blog Facebook Page
Official Ben’s Biz Blog Twitter Page

I have spent the the better part of the past two afternoons making sure I am a “friend”, “fan”, “foe”, or “follower” of as many Minor League teams (and mascots) as possible. But this represents just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to who I can connect with, so please do not hesitate to become my friend, follower, foe, or, where applicable, internet life partner. I always enjoy hearing from my loyal readers (and am still amazed that such individuals exist), and my new and improved online presence will only help facilitate such communication.   

It will also help me keep abreast of what’s going on throughout the Minors. What follows are a few things that I have come across in the course of my extensive Minor League Facebook and Twitter travels:

– Last week, I expressed surprise at the fact that no teams had followed the lead of the Fresno Grizzlies, who produce a weekly “I Hate the Offseason” web series. Well, the Omaha Royals are doing just this, and the title of their series directly references Fresno’s.

Behold “My Offseason Life is Average”, episodes 1 and 2:
 

The O-Royals videos above are willfully absurd, but not so absurd as the true-life video that a Salt Lake Bees fan recently posted on the team’s Facebook page: Bon Jovi’s bass player, in a Japanese airport, wearing a Bees t-shirt! You can’t make this stuff up.

webbyflu.jpg

And, finally, my travels led me to one of the best Minor League blogs I have seen in a while. It’s called “Goshen and Giddings”, and is devoted to illuminating the long history of professional baseball in Visalia, CA (a lot of great old photos and team programs are containted therein). An affirmative head nod goes to Donny Baarns, director of broadcasting for the Visalia Rawhide, for putting it together.

In closing, I would like to offer a few boldfaced ways in which you can get in touch with me. Please utilize the following options at your discretion. And thanks, as always, for reading.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz
Facebook

Get In, Get Out, Move On

get_hot_keep_moving.jpgTime is short, and topic reserves are low. Yet, my devotion to this blog is such that I feel I must post today. I can’t go on I will go on.

First, thanks to everyone who is now following me on this thing known as “Twitter”. I’ll do my best to stay active, and I welcome feedback and suggestions of all kinds at any time. I somewhat like Twitter’s concept, in which an idea or thought must be conveyed in 140 characters or less. One must get to the point as quickly as possible. Unlike, say, this paragraph.

Moving on, Jonathan Mayo has an interesting “Perspectives” piece on the recent launch of the Israeli Association of Baseball. Mayo notes that the fledgling league will try to follow the successful Minor League Baseball business model, in which promotions are key. As to what promotions might work in Israel, Mayo suggests a Golda Meir bobblehead. That’s pretty good, but if anyone has any other suggestions then please feel free to leave a comment. Me? I got nothin’

Finally, I am pleased to announce that one of the honored guests at the Missoula Osprey’ssummers.jpg Hot Stove Dinner is none other than backstop-turned-knuckleballer Houston Summers. As some of you may know, Houston was the winner of 2007’s inaugural “Minors Moniker Madness” competition. Surely, this was one of the most ridiculous (yet entertaining) features that has found its way onto MiLB.com, and we had a lot of fun putting it together. I would like to think that Houston’s presence at the Hot Stove Dinner is at least somewhat attributable to the notoriety he achieved on our site.

Unlikely, I know…but I must compensate for my own lack of success by taking undeserved credit for the achievements of others. It’s the American way! 

Five Bucks, Four Blogs, and a Pinball Place

footlong.jpgNot surprisingly, the dominant topic in the Minor Leagues this offseason has been the economy and the effect it will have on teams’ ability to make money.

I have weighed in on the issue several times, most notably here and here. What I have heard time and time again from those who work in Minor League front offices is this — while there are significant worries regarding the ability to attract and retain sponsors, attendance figures should remain strong. In fact, some teams are counting on an increase in ’09, due to the fact that Minor League Baseball offers an unparalleled bang for the buck.

Some teams are doing everything they can to drive this point home — teams like, oh, I don’tghop.GIF know, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. On Feb. 28th, the club will be staging “Tickets On Sale Day.” Admittedly, this is probably the most boring name for a promotion that I have ever come across. But the deal being offered is phenomenal — in recognition of the team’s fifth season, ALL seats to ALL games during the 2009 season will be sold for $5 each. Running concurrently with this sale will be the third annual Hoppin’ Fun Yard Sale, featuring all manner of team merchandise as well as vendors from within the community.

The bottom line is that events such as “Tickets On Sale Day” make it startlingly clear that Minor League Baseball is a bargain. $5 is about half the cost of a movie ticket, but it will provide access to so much more. 

sopranos.jpgI am a New York City resident, where $5 bargains are few and far between. The best deal that I am currently aware of is the shot and beer special at Zablozkis in Brooklyn. I like to take advantage of this because the bar has a Sopranos pinball machine in the back, where I can play undisturbed for long periods of time. Yes, I am currently making the most of my life.

Moving On…I am usually wary and vaguely hostile towards new technological innovations, so it was with some trepidation that I signed up for Twitter yesterday. But if this allows me to stay in touch and communicate with readers in a quick and casual fashion, then I’m all for it. Check it out here:

http://twitter.com/bensbiz

In additional “housekeeping” news, I have added four new blogs to the link section. They are:

The Watson FilesNews, notes, and observations from Fort Wayne Tin Caps broadcaster Dan Watson.
Senators Fans UniteHarrisburg fan blog.
Will InmanSan Diego pitching prospect tells some
Shawn HavilandFrom the Ivy Leagues to MLB

Am I missing anything? If so, email benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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